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Are these connections all coincidences? Or just magic!

Arithmancy

Arithmancy is a branch of magic which deals with the magical properties of numbers, and Hermione tells us it’s her favourite subject. In previous episodes we’ve already talked about some of the interesting ways that J.K. Rowling uses numbers in the books, and if we look through an arithmancy lens we find some more interesting connections.

By assigning values to letters of the alphabet we can compare the arithmancy numbers for some of the main characters and that’s when things start to get interesting.

For example, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley are both 2’s. Sharing the same number generally indicates compatibility and indeed, they become instant best friends from the moment they meet. A generation earlier, James Potter, and his best friend, Sirius Black, were both 7’s.

We can also see some interesting parallels when we consider the meanings ascribed to the numbers. For example, Albus Dumbledore is a 1, and arithmancy tells us 1’s are leaders. Gilderoy Lockhart is a 3, who are described as being unfocused and superficial. Severus Snape is a 2, and 2’s are known to be of two minds, containing opposing forces, both good and evil. Snape is a classic 2, but remember Harry is also a 2, perhaps reflecting the battle between Harry’s good nature and the piece of Voldemort’s soul lodged in him.

Different numbers can also be compatible and fit together in many interesting ways. Take, for example, the Weasley twins Fred and George, who get along so well and and complete each other’s sentences. Fred is a 6 and George is a 3. The number 6 represents harmony, and 3 represents completeness, two becoming one. In addition, they both add up to 9, which signifies completion to its fullest degree. Together, Fred and George are a formidable force.

Compare them to another pair of twins Parvati and Padma Patil. Padma is a 3, which represents completeness, but Parvati is a 1, a loner. The Sorting Hat obviously recognized this innate incompatibility when it sorted Parvati into Gryffindor and Padma into Ravenclaw, even though siblings are usually sorted into the same houses.

These are just a small sample of the insights Arithmancy can provide; no wonder it was Hermione’s favourite subject. Are these connections all coincidences? Or just magic!

Commentary

Notes

In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, one to two minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.

Special thanks go to Felicia Cano who gave us permission to use her amazing artwork of Hermione reading a book for the logo. Thanks also to Magic Alley for sponsoring the podcast!

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